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An Ounce, Spring 2012

In this issue:

Cancer Fact

Did you know that 21% of Ontario Grade 12 students regularly use tanning beds and that new data shows a spike in skin cancer rates among young adults! Read more about the dangers of teen-tanning in this issue ...


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Banning minors from tanning beds is true cancer prevention

By PCN Staff

You may not realize it but in Canada more-and-more kids are regularly using tanning beds – often several times a week! Many know about the dangers of ultraviolet (UV) radiation, but peer pressure and concern for looking healthy far outstrip the risk. A recent Ipsos Reid poll of almost 1,500 Ontario students found that 21% of Grade 12 students were using tanning beds! These numbers are far too high, and, if unchecked, will lead to countless preventable cases of cancer in this generation of youth.

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Could women be dialing in breast cancer by carrying a cell phone in their bra?

By Devra Davis, PhD, MPH

Donna Jayne is a busy California mother of three dealing with the constant demands of being a conscientious wife and mother. This has kept her on the go, and on her cell phone… a lot.

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We need your help

By Jake Cole

If you’re like me, you get a plea for money nearly everyday from some well-meaning organization. If you’re like me, you turn most of them down. You can only do so much.

So here I am, asking you to donate some money to our cause, cancer prevention. Why should you react to this request any differently?

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PEI: Pesticide Exposure Island

By Sharon Labchuk

PHOTO: Potato producer spraying pesticides next to tourist cottages. Note the children’s playground equipment in the background.

Even the most conservative health professionals recommend we reduce our exposure to pesticides. And many Canadians have – after forcing their provincial governments to ban cosmetic lawn pesticides. But in Prince Edward Island, the most intensively sprayed province in the country according to Environment Canada, people inhale a cocktail of cancer-causing agricultural pesticides with every breath.

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Why men and women with breast cancer should avoid ELFs

By Magda Havas, BSc, PhD

The ELFs in the title do not refer to little green men but rather to extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields that are produced when we use electricity.

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It’s time for McGill to stop colluding with the asbestos industry

By Kathleen Ruff

More than a century ago, women factory inspectors in the UK reported that asbestos was causing terrible lung disease (asbestosis) amongst workers exposed to it. Over the first six decades of the 20th century, however, mining and use of asbestos soared, even as the medical evidence became increasingly clear that asbestos was causing not only asbestosis, but also mesothelioma and other deadly cancers. For most of the 20th century, Canada was a leading world exporter of asbestos, with the industry centered in Québec. A major player was Johns-Manville Canada, which owned the mine – now called Jeffrey mine – at the town of Asbestos, the largest open-pit asbestos mine in the world.

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It’s almost lawn time!

By Mark MacKenzie

The first signs of spring conjure up feelings of joy for many who look forward to another season of growing lush plants, enjoying delicious homegrown or local vegetables, and smelling the sweet aromas of Mother Nature’s gift of plants. On the other hand, there are far too many who shudder at the thought of what problems their lawn will have this year and what unpronounceable chemical solutions that they will be tempted to enact. There are a couple of key ways that you can maintain your lawn so that you will reduce your frustration, increase your enjoyment and eliminate your exposure to harmful chemicals.

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Greening your beauty regime for a healthy body and a healthy planet

By Laura Woodward

PHOTO: Sierra Club’s new “Healthy Beauty for Life Cosmetic Kit”

When thinking about reducing your footprint on the earth and improving your health, your cosmetic bag may be the last place you think of that needs a green makeover. But scientists have discovered that cosmetics and personal care products are making their way into our environment when they are washed away during baths, showers and hand washing.

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Aspirin: Encouraging research but “first do no harm”

By PCN Staff

A new report from the American Cancer Society (ACS) says aspirin’s potential role in reducing the risk of cancer death bring us considerably closer to the time when cancer prevention can be included in clinical guidelines for the use of aspirin.

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Sandra Steingraber, Living Downstream, and the fight against fracking

By Chanda Chevannes

PHOTO: Sandra Steingraber receiving the prestigious Heinz Award in November 2011

“I have come to believe that extracting natural gas from shale using the newish technique called hydrofracking is the environmental issue of our time. And I think you should, too.”
—Sandra Steingraber, PhD

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Camille’s yummy Four-Minute Freezer Fudge

By Camille Labchuk

I’m excited to share a recipe that I threw together: four-minute freezer fudge. I’ve been making various versions of this freezer fudge for a while — it’s impossibly easy, delicious, rich and chocolaty. Usually, I don’t even bother to measure out the ingredients, but I did today, just for you folks! Here’s the recipe:

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Dandelion gets a dandy boost as an antioxidant and anti-cancer therapy

By PCN Staff

Dandelions, generally speaking, don’t have a lot of friends – especially among lawn enthusiasts! But those in the know have long appreciated their dietary health benefits. Dandelions contain vitamins, potassium and other important minerals, and recent (hopeful) evidence shows that dandelion extracts can suppress the growth and invasive behavior in several types of cancer.

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New study looks at hormones and endocrine-disrupting chemicals

By Sandra Madray

To some people, the mention of endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) brings to mind BPA (bisphenol A) because it has had significant media coverage. And also, the Canadian government has banned its use in baby bottles. BPA is an example of an endocrine disrupting chemical. At low doses, these EDCs can adversely affect the hormonal system in humans as well as in wildlife.

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Taking our economy off the carcinogen treadmill

By Bev Thorpe

It is a well-known truth that we are surrounded by hazardous chemicals in our lives. They are in the air we breathe, in the
dust in our homes, in our food and in our bodies. Environmental Defence’s report ‘Toxic Nation’ highlights how blood testing in Canadian families found that in total, 38 carcinogens, 23 hormone disruptors, 12 respiratory toxins, 38 reproductive/developmental toxins, and 19 neurotoxins were detected in the study volunteers.

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Incineration campaign update

By Linda Gasser

Spring has sprung and sadly, so has a new crop of incinerator proposals as decision-makers from Powell River in British Columbia to the councils of Meaford and Muskoka in Ontario have discussed solid waste incineration an a disposal option for their communities.

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Halifax cancer prevention series wraps-up

By Savayda Jarone


The Halifax Cancer Prevention Series wrapped up the end of April and was a success once again. Each year, the best outcomes of the series include a feeling of unity and an opportunity for like-minded people to gather to exchange ideas and practical solutions, in support of the belief that prevention is essential when dealing with the epidemic of cancer.

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A doctor visits the Tar Sands: An eyewitness account

By Farrah Khan

In October 2010 I travelled to the Alberta Tar Sands to visit the source of Canada’s dirty oil – an operation that has earned international disapproval for its greenhouse gas emissions, destruction of natural habitat, water contamination, and more.

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A petition worth signing

By Frances Moore Lappé (with a forward by PCN Staff)

Many of the articles that appear in An Ounce focus on the need for sound, legitimate evidence. We have often expressed concern over studies that do not declare conflicts of interest or the relationships between authors and funders. When this article came to our attention, we felt that you would want to know that others value transparency as much as we do. What a shame that a world-renowned publisher has fallen into this trap, and given us even more reason for skepticism. – PCN Staff

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PCN shorts

By PCN Staff

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